By Savannah Hulsey Pointer
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said on June 5 that he won’t seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
“We’ve taken the last six months to really kind of look at things, where everything is. And I’ve made the decision not to run for president on the Republican ticket in 2024,” Sununu said during a June 5 interview.
“I think the Republican Party as a whole just wants to get out and fight, as opposed to saying, ‘Look, let’s remember what we’re about—limited government, local control, believing in individual responsibility.’ That’s the Live-Free-or-Die spirit of New Hampshire, and the model works really well.”
He said his decision was partly influenced by former President Donald Trump’s candidacy and the expanding Republican field.
This week, at least three more GOP candidates are expected to join the Republican race, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.
“I don’t mind who gets into the field, but given where the polls are right now, every candidate needs to understand the responsibility of getting out and getting out quickly if it’s not working,” Sununu said.
“And I can be more candid about that as the governor of the first-in-the-nation primary, calling candidates out, saying, ‘Look, you gave it a try, you’re still in low-single digits, you’ve got to get out of the race.’”
He said candidates whose campaigns aren’t taking off need to exit the crowded field by “Christmas at the latest.”
The New Hampshire governor also had harsh words for the candidates who don’t have a solid chance of winning, who seem only to be in the race to “audition” to be part of a presumptive Republican administration’s Cabinet or another candidate’s running mate.
“I don’t think all 12 of them firmly believe that they can be president,” Sununu said. “I think a lot of a lot of them just want to … effectively audition to be in the Cabinet or vice president, and at this time, there’s no place for them.”
He expressed concern that someone will win the Republican nomination with 35 percent voter support and that the majority of the party won’t want to back them.
“That’s not where we should be as a party,” Sununu said.
On Trump’s Chances
Sununu believes that Trump has no chance of winning in 2024.
“Right now, Donald Trump costs us from the U.S. Senate to governorships to school board seats. His message costs Republican parties dearly across the country. … The math has shown Donald Trump has no chance of winning in November of 2024,” he said.
“If you’re Republican and you can’t win Georgia in November 2024, you have no shot, and he’s proven that. … His messaging doesn’t translate. It does well with a hardcore 30 to 35 percent base, but he loses everybody beyond that.”
One of the reasons the Republican Party should steer clear of Trump is that people have already made up their minds about him, according to Sununu.
“No one is undecided about the former president,” he said. “There isn’t anyone out there going, ‘Well, maybe I might consider voting [for Trump].’ No, you know where you are. He’s a known commodity, and so the math doesn’t add up.
“A vote for [Trump] in the primary is effectively a vote for Joe Biden.”
On the day that Sununu announced that he wouldn’t run for president, Mike Pence, the former vice president, officially filed paperwork declaring his candidacy. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appears set to enter the race.
These two recent announcements are part of a bevy of new entrants, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who join former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, conservative radio host Larry Elder, and a number of other candidates.
Many of the already-declared candidates have spent weeks touring Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and other crucial early states.
Trump, who announced his candidacy in November 2022, is currently leading among Republican caucus and primary voters.
Ramaswamy and DeSantis have attempted to connect with relatively conservative voters and other Americans concerned about the scale and power of the federal government.
In April, the anti-“woke” Ramaswamy vowed to “shut down and replace” both the IRS and the FBI. Recently, DeSantis said he would also support a move to defund the tax agency.
Christie could seek to position himself as a centrist who’s aggressively anti-Trump.
Haley, 51, has made cognitive testing one of the cornerstones of her 2024 campaign, pointing to the advanced age of many politicians as a sign that change should be seen in both parties.
Nathan Worcester contributed to this report.